Monday, January 10, 2011

A Look Back at Cycling Trends That Went Main Stream and Why We Hope They Don't Continue

I was thinking the other day on how cycling and cycling styles suddenly become trendy in America.  The trend doesn't seem to last very long and really doesn't usually correspond to an increase in cycling interest.  Here are a few examples:

Cycling hats:

Used in place of helmets "back in the day", cycling hats were as normal part of a team uniform as gloves and socks.  Today you can still find many of these hats still in the style of the old teams.  This craze, for whatever reason, took off main stream.  These hats were ugly enough that cyclist probably questioned why they should wear them.  Then they became popular everywhere.

They were even popular in movies.

As a cyclist walking around seeing everyday Joes wearing a hat saying "Colnago" was quite confusing.  You may have thought that was a perfect person to have an in dept conversation with about who looked good in this year's Tour.  Half way through your opening statements you probably realized you had made a mistake and simply wanted to get away without telling him his hat looked stupid.
Cycling Shorts:

AKA--Biker or Bike Shorts.  These became trendy in the 90s.  I guess they are pretty comfortable to wear to the gym, aerobics, running and of course on the bike.  Any pair of shorts that are comfortable doing those activities should be made into denim and used everywhere.

Everywhere they were.  Don't get me wrong, I was a young cyclist in the 90s and I fell to this fashion flaw.  My brother and I both blamed my parents who were simply going with the trend.  As my mom would say "Speedo doesn't make gay wear, they make athletic wear."  That is true, but fashion wear it is not.  Anyone caught wearing these shorts to soccer practice was referred to as a "ball hogger" for the day.

For every hot girl in the gym wearing these shorts there were 5 old hairy fat men also wearing these shorts.  Not worth the trade.  Cycling shorts should be reserved for cycling and maybe for a little extra chamois time once off the bike (preferably not in the mall though).

Roof Top Bike Racks:

This trend peeked probably 10 years ago.  This is when hoopties or ghetto rides would put Yakima or Thule racks on their cars for style only.  I worked in a bike shop at this time and over half of our roof top bike racks sold would never see a bike.  They would actually, at times come in pairs so they could split the system with someone.  All they really wanted was the front bar, the fairing and maybe a wheel fork to stick straight up.

They are usually easily recognized by the lack of accessories.  In one case I have even seen a bike mount sawed off to about a foot and half long to that is would fit on top of a pick-up truck.  

The big reason I was happy to see this trend go away was because of the value of racks on the black market.  Even locked racks weren't safe, it usually meant more damage to your vehicle.  I personally had 1 set stolen and one attempted. 

Roof top racks should be left to the athletes.  Cyclists, water sports and skiers have the right and need to drive around town with the racks as a permanent fixture.  They usually even buy cars with the idea of "will a rack fit?"  These racks should not have ever gone main stream and I am glad to see the trend die.

What will be the next cycling trend to go main steam?  Jerseys, helmets, gloves all worn as fashion?  We'll just have to wait and see.

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